Global Consumers Want Transparency in Ingredients

What defines a “healthy” diet varies around the world. One thing is for certain: simplicity is key. While diets vary globally, the story is the same: artificial is out. Consumers are now avoiding foods with long lists of ingredients and are set on removing the “bad” and replacing it with “good”

“Three-quarters of global respondents (75%) strongly or somewhat agree that they’re concerned about the long-term health impact of artificial ingredients, with the highest level of agreement in Asia-Pacific (80%). In addition, 69% strongly or somewhat agree that foods without artificial ingredients are always more healthful, and just over half (52%) strongly or somewhat agree that foods and beverages with fewer ingredients are more healthful, with agreement even stronger in North America (61%).”

Consumers base their decisions on healthier foods on what have less of rather than focus on the benefits the food item provides. “62% agree that the absence of undesirable ingredients is more important than the inclusion of beneficial ones. Asia-Pacific leads the way, with 70% of respondents saying they strongly or somewhat agree with this statement.”

“Informed and savvy consumers are demanding more from the foods they eat, and some are prioritizing ingredients over brands,” said Andrew Mandzy, Director of Strategic Health and Wellness Insights, Nielsen. “To many consumers, simple is beautiful, and foods with a short list of recognizable ingredients resonate strongly. Savvy manufacturers are responding to this trend by modifying product portfolios by simplifying food ingredient lists and creating natural and organic alternatives to existing offerings. Meanwhile, retailers are also prioritizing healthful foods and better-for-you brands in the center of the store, and emphasizing fresh and perishable foods around the perimeter in order to drive growth.”

“Among respondents who say they have a food sensitivity/allergy or follow a special diet that limits or restricts specific foods or ingredients, fewer than half (45%) say their needs are being fully met by current product offerings. Fewer than four in 10 respondents in the Latin America and Africa/Middle East regions say their needs are fully being met (37% each). Satisfaction levels are highest in North America, where 59% say their dietary needs are being fully met by current offerings, likely a reflection of the ample product selection and large store sizes in the region.”

Other results from Nielsen’s global Consumers Ingredient and Dining-Out Trends report include:

– “Artificial flavors (62%), preservatives (62%) and colors (61%) are the most avoided food ingredients among respondents worldwide.
– Diets that limit the amount of fat (31%) or sugar (26%) are the most commonly cited restrictions among global respondents.
– Thirty-six percent of global respondents say they or someone in their household suffers from a food allergy or intolerance.
– Sixty-four percent of global respondents say they follow a diet that limits or prohibits consumption of some foods or ingredients.”

This article was based on Nielsen’s Global Study: What’s in Our Food and On Our Minds . Published on 08-30-2016

For more details, download Nielsen’s Global Ingredient and Dining-Out Trends Report.

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